I know, right? Finally we relaxed just a little bit, took a break from all the drama of snakes and chicken poo and had the hammock installed on the porch. It makes a fine place to relax and read a book on the nook.
Now I need a little table to hold my coffee…..
Ana and I both completed a Permaculture class years back hosted by permie guru Toby Hemenway, author of “Gaia’s Garden”, one of our favorite resource books. The class was held at South Seattle Community College over 6 weekends, each conducted on a monthly basis so it took 6 months to complete. Our weekends with Toby were extra special as he always invited at least one guest instructor to join in the learning fun. We met Bullock brother, Douglas; we later traveled to Orcas and camped overnight for a tour of their incredible farm. Highly recommended!
We also were able to meet and learn from chicken expert (among other topics) Paul Wheaton. About a week ago, Ana and I decided to implement his concept of paddocks, which are movable fenced areas for the chickens. We were tired of the chicken poo everywhere…sidewalks, driveway….ick. With all experiments, we will see if this works in Mexico.
No connection to the paddock method….we think anyway: A few days back one of the chickens, Katarina, starting acting odd just before bedtime; she could not stand straight up and was stumbling about trying to move. We moved in and picked her up and Ana thought a scorpion may have stung her. Since there is not any real way to tell (unless of course if you see one on or about the chicken) she relied on her past knowledge and also asked our neighbor, who was out feeding his donkey. He agreed with Ana and said to give it garlic and keep her separate from the others and wait. Hmm….
Right after Ana fed the chicken some garlic and water, her nephew Adrian came to visit. He asked if we had searched the internet for answers. Great idea! I searched and found a site where others had discussed the same topic and they recommended benadryl. Ana ground some up and we force fed her some of the pink liquid, then placed her in one of the cat cages we used for the journey south and put her on our large porch for the night.
Over the next day we watched and force fed her water and a few little bites of food. I wondered if she would recover…but after a day and half she stood up. Wow! We put her in the front yard for another half day on her own to be separate from the other chickens and she slowly began to forage and eat. Happy ending! She is now back with the others in the paddock.
The Good: it’s fantastic to finally be in our house that we spent the last 11 years or so getting built one part at a time. Since we did not borrow money to build it, we carved out parts of our bi-weekly paychecks and paid cash for all the materials and labor. Fantastic as we have no mortgage on this place. The views are spectacular and when I am outside on a daily basis, I look up and drink it all in. We are living our dream of growing organic food to supplement our life. Lovely.
Not so Great: I will admit there are some challenges to living in rural Mexico. The distance away from stores is challenging and it’s difficult to get some food and items we need. We learn to adjust or stock up when in a shopping area. Being away from friends and family is also difficult and it’s far from easy to feel connected.
Last night there was an epic storm and honestly I thought the chicken coop would be totally destroyed with all the wind that hit the house; this morning, chickens and the coop were intact but our pile of harvested beans from yesterday were soaking wet. Ana and I hauled them into the covered porch to try and dry them out before they mold.
The Really Ugly: Ana found a large snake in the chicken coop the other day. Scared the you-know-what out of her! We called over the neighbor who was kind enough to pick up a large stick and kill it for us. At first, we assumed it was a poisonous one as that is what he said, however, it looks like it may not have been that dangerous although one that was most likely after chicken eggs. Sigh.
Learnings: Clear the long grass and bushes around the coop so animals cannot hide and sneak up on the chickens, put in a cement floor and keep the door closed during the day to prevent further predators from entering.
Pay close attention to the weather and if it looks like a storm approaching, get your drying harvest under tight cover and keep it dry.